Yes, the Court Rules make economic mediation mandatory, unless the parties have an active restraining order. The first two hours are provided by the mediator at no charge. The mediator uses the first hour to prepare for the mediation session and review the parties' papers. The second hour is for the mediation session with the parties and their attorneys, if applicable. There is no requirement to continue with mediation session beyond the first hour. Absent a large disparity in income between the parties, it is common for the order to require the parties to share the mediator's fees equally. Additional information concerning economic mediation is available on the NJ court website. www.njcourts.com.
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Post-ESP economic mediation is mandatory. That doesn't mean it has to be split 50 / 50. If that's not the proportion of incomes and there's no access to assets to pay it, you can certainly ask the court for a different split.
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What type of motion did the other party file? If there is a motion hearing, you should ask that the order of 2/27/12 be modified to include a provision ordering each party to pay according to their ability and provide proof as to your position.
Failure to attend mandatory post-MESP economic mediation can have serious consequences. You should consult with an attorney about your case since it appears that you have such important issues at stake.
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